Wendy Bradshaw taught special education classes in Lakeland, FL, elementary schools for 12 years before she resigned late last month. While most teachers' resignations only affect their students, Bradshaw's has hit a nerve with parents and educators throughout the country. That's because she posted her heartfelt resignation letter on her Facebook page — and it has been shared more than 67,000 times and has received more than 11,000 comments.
In short, Bradshaw stated that she no longer wants to be part of a system that is forcing kids to do things they are not ready for — that the current testing culture is forcing students to learn concepts that their brains aren't developmentally ready to process and that now she won't subject her daughter to the current public school process.
Her letter has sparked discussion about the current state of public education and where priorities should lie. With so much emphasis on studying for tests, Bradshaw believes students are missing out on other key skills. "They are completely losing out on their social skills," she told Fox 13 News. "They don't know the names of the other children."
As for what sparked her decision to resign from the job she loved? Bradshaw wrote, "On June 8, 2015 my life changed when I gave birth to my daughter. I remember cradling her in the hospital bed on our first night together and thinking, 'In five years you will be in kindergarten and will go to school with me.' That thought should have brought me joy, but instead it brought dread."
Her letter even sparked sympathy from the school superintendent, who issued a statement reading:
"We understand her frustration over trying to delicately balance mandates, other instructional priorities and most importantly, the needs of each child. Teachers strive for an effective balance every day to positively impact their students...We appreciate the six years she gave to our school district, and we wish her success in her future endeavors."
As for those future endeavors, in January, Bradshaw plans to go to the state capital with other educators to lobby for change.